Before we answer the question of whether jealousy can be a good thing in a relationship, let’s take a look at a real-life scenario and maybe you’ll figure it out just from this one couple’s experience.
Jealous Jane on Vacation
A few months ago, Jane and her boyfriend went on vacation with two other couples. While they had been friends for years with one couple and the man in the other couple, the one girlfriend was a wild card…completely unknown.
The girlfriend turned out to be all kinds of wild, if you know what we mean. She was of the touchy-feely school of communication…every sentence punctuated by a grab around the torso, a hand on the arm, a hug here, a hug there. It quickly became too much for Jane, who got tired of watching the wild girl sidle up to her man, touching him in what Jane felt to be inappropriate ways.
But Jane kept it to herself, thinking it was just this girl’s style, it meant nothing at all. Then one night it became just too much and she let her feelings out…explosively and with nothing held back.
Jane’s boyfriend’s reaction was priceless, although it puzzled Jane at first:
He simply laughed. In fact, he laughed so hard Jane had to wait for him to calm down before asking what the &**@ was up.
Turns out Jane’s boyfriend was completely charmed by Jane’s fit of jealousy, and thought it was the best thing ever. Of course he reassured her there was nothing going on, and he hardly noticed the girl’s proclivity to touch while talking.
Once reassured, Jane felt better, but also noticed she had an intense desire to go out and buy a new bikini. She also found herself “flaunting” herself by the pool, showing the wild girl who’s boss and sidling up to her own man, claiming ownership.
You can imagine what this did to Jane’s boyfriend’s ego…and for their relationship. It opened up a whole new side of Jane that her man had never seen before, and therefore deepened their connection. It was like discovering a whole other woman in there, according to Jane’s boyfriend. He loved it, and therefore so did Jane.
What You Can Learn From Jane’s Jealousy
Lucky for Jane and her man, a little jealousy turned out to be a great relationship booster that brought new life into their bond. Why does this happen? It’s evolution: jealousy evolved as a natural safeguard against “mate stealing”…but is it appropriate in today’s world?
It certainly is, but in small, healthy doses.
Let’s call that healthy jealousy. What happens when jealousy is unhealthy? It’s normal to feel jealous in many situations, but what if everything inspires jealousy?
When Jealousy is Unhealthy
If you are experiencing jealousy with almost every encounter your mate experiences with the opposite sex, then you have a problem. It’s not healthy to feel so much jealousy, and it should be a signal to you that what you’re feeling is more than the natural pang of jealousy we all feel from time to time.
If a little reassurance doesn’t make the jealous feeling go away in a moment’s time as it did with Jane, then you may have trust issues in your relationship.
Two Ways to View Unhealthy Jealousy
If you’re feeling toxic levels of jealousy in your relationship, it could stem from one of two things:
- Your mate isn’t doing anything, and nothing unusual is taking place that would make most people jealous. You have issues with trust and should explore your past to discover why you have a problem.
- Your mate (or someone near him) is up to no good and you do have reason to feel jealous all the time. In this case, your jealousy is unhealthy but not because you have issues in your past…because you have justified trust issues in the here and now!
How to tell the difference between the two? Talking to your mate is a good place to start. Ask yourself this: do you feel jealous no matter who your guy is around, no matter what his attitude may be? Then the problem may be coming from you. Typically the people who are unusually jealous are those who are insecure in some way. Low self-esteem often causes people to be more jealous than necessary. It’s rooted in a deep-seated fear that they’re not worthy of real love, or real respect.
If that sounds like you, then get to work on fixing that problem right away. It’s an ugly emotion rooted in negativity and it will kill any chances you ever had at finding true love.
Whatever the case may be, jealousy can be a signal that something is not quite right in your relationship. Whether it’s your own trust issues or your partner’s tendency towards flirting, seek out better ways to communicate so you can get to the bottom of the matter and sort it all out.
Jealousy: It’s Yours, So Own It!
What can we learn from all this? That jealousy comes dressed in many different disguises.
- It can be the natural by-product of a healthy relationship, rearing its head once in a great while. This is how it turned out to be for Jane and her boyfriend.
- It can be the symptom of your own trust issues, completely irrational and unfounded.
- Finally, jealousy can be a completely useful instinct that’s alerting you to something amiss in your present relationship. Maybe your guy does flirt too much, or maybe that woman in his life who claims to just be his friend is actually trying to be much, much more. Remember, it doesn’t mean your guy is necessarily up to no good. It might mean your instincts are doing you a solid by alerting you to another woman’s grips tightening onto your man.
If you’re lucky, the jealousy you feel will be a healthy dose of relationship-protecting emotions that produce a nice boosting effect for you and your man. If not, then jealousy can be the canary in the coal mine for some deep-seated issues.